When we took Eleanor home 5 years ago, no one really expected her to live. She only weighed a couple of ounces, fit in the palm of my hand, and was even too young to be tested for any of the many diseases that a feral kitten could have. I would go through these bouts of fear about loosing her, but what really bothered me was that I found it impossible to see her as an adult cat. One day, the idea came to look up adult tortoise-shell cats on-line so I could get a visual. I knew that if I could get that picture in my mind, I’d be able to focus back on it, when the fears came up.
I’ve heard the concept of visualization knocked by people who say things like, “Right. All I have to do is imagine what I want and it will happen?!” with this tone of sarcasm and unbelief, and I always want to answer, “So you have mastered your mind, huh?! You can actually go 10 minutes, or even an entire day, thinking of only the outcome that you would like to see, and not letting doubt, fear or any number of horrifying scenarios that you wouldn’t like to see, take over?”
But I would never say that, because any person who knew the power of their mind, could not doubt its power and would know that, far from being a passive, airy-fairy concept of “doing nothing”, focusing on the lives that we want (the desired outcome for any situation that is a current struggle in our lives) is the biggest, hardest, most intense “work” that we will ever do. In the movie that I wrote about earlier this week, Dhamma Brothers, one of the inmates said that meditating, for the 10 day period, was harder than the last 8 1/2 years he had spent on death-row.
So if you are having a hard time focusing your mind, you are in good company. But keep looking for what you want to see anyway. Get an image in your mind of that good. Look for what is right. Ask yourself the questions, “I wonder what is right with me today?” or “I wonder what is right with this situation?”
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. FIx your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8